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Worried man listening to a ringing in his ear. Tinnitus concept

It’s not unusual for individuals to have ringing in their ears, also called tinnitus. Some estimates suggest that 10 percent of people have tinnitus at one point or another, making it one of the most prevalent health conditions in the world. Although the most common manifestation of tinnitus is a phantom ringing or buzzing in your ear, it can also present as other sounds as well.

Unfortunately, the causes of tinnitus aren’t as evident as the symptoms. In part, that’s because tinnitus may be caused by a wide variety of causes, some of which are temporary and others that can be more long lasting.

This is why environmental factors can Have a major impact on tinnitus symptoms. After all, every environment has a soundscape, and when that soundscape is loud, you could be causing damage to your ears. This environmental tinnitus may sometimes be permanent or it may sometimes react to changes to make your environment quieter.

Why do so many people experience tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition that causes you to hear a noise that isn’t actually there. Tinnitus normally manifests as a ringing or buzzing, but can also manifest as other noises, like screeching, thumping, or humming. Normally, the sounds are steady or rhythmic. Tinnitus will typically clear itself up after a short period of time. Though not as common, chronic tinnitus is effectively permanent.

Tinnitus is so common for a couple of reasons. Firstly, environmental factors that can contribute to tinnitus are fairly prevalent. The second reason is that tinnitus is frequently a symptom of a root condition or injury. Put simply, there are many such injuries or conditions that can cause tinnitus. Consequently, tinnitus tends to be quite common.

How can the environment affect tinnitus?

There are a large number of factors that can contribute to tinnitus symptoms, including ototoxic chemicals and medicines. But when it comes to “environmental” triggers, noise is the biggest offender. Some settings, such as noisy city streets, can get very loud. Somebody would be at risk of environmental tinnitus, for example, if they worked around loud industrial equipment.

When assessing the state of your health, these environmental factors are extremely important.

As with hearing loss, noise-induced damage can eventually trigger tinnitus symptoms. When tinnitus is a result of noise damage, it’s typically chronic and often permanent. Here are a few of the most prevalent noise-related causes of tinnitus:

  • Music: Listening to music at loud volumes is a pretty common practice. Tinnitus will frequently be the outcome if you do this frequently.
  • Events: Tinnitus can sometimes result from loud noises, even if they aren’t experienced over a long time-period. Shooting a gun or going to a rock concert are instances of this type of noise.
  • Noise in the workplace: Many workplaces, including offices, are frequently the source of loud noises. Whether it’s industrial equipment or chatty office neighbors, spending eight hours a day around constant workplace noise can eventually result in tinnitus.
  • Traffic: You might not even recognize how loud traffic can be in heavily populated locations. And you may not even realize that your ears can be damaged at lower volumes than you might expect. Tinnitus and hearing damage can be the outcome of long commutes in these noisy settings.

Damage to the ears can occur at a much lower volume than people usually expect. For this reason, hearing protection should be utilized at lower volumes than you might expect. Hearing protection can help you avoid tinnitus symptoms from developing in the first place.

What should I do if I’m experiencing tinnitus?

Will tinnitus clear up on its own? Well, in some instances it might. In other situations, your symptoms could be irreversible. Initially, it’s basically impossible to tell which is which. Likewise, just because your tinnitus has reseeded doesn’t mean that noise damage has not occurred, leading to an increased risk of chronic tinnitus down the road.

Individuals often underestimate the minimum volume that damage starts to happen, which is the most significant contributing factor to its development. If you experience tinnitus, your body is telling you that damage has already likely occurred. This means that there are several things that you should do to change your environment so as to prevent more irreparable damage.

Here are some tips you can try:

  • If possible, try to decrease environmental volume. For example, you could close the windows if you live in a noisy area or turn off industrial machinery that isn’t in use.
  • Stop damage by using hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs. Noise canceling headphones can also be an asset in this regard.
  • Reducing the amount of time you spend in loud environments without giving your ears a chance to recover.

How to manage your symptoms

The symptoms of tinnitus are often a huge distraction and are quite unpleasant for most individuals who deal with them. This prompts them to attempt to find a way to ease the severity of their symptoms.

You should contact us for an appointment if you’re hearing a persistent ringing or buzzing in your ears. We will be able to evaluate your symptoms and identify how to best address them. For the majority of cases of persistent tinnitus, there’s no cure. Here are a few ways to manage the symptoms:

  • White noise devices: In some cases, you can tune out some of your tinnitus symptoms by utilizing a white noise generator around your home.
  • Retraining therapy: You can sometimes retrain your ears with the help of a specialist, which will progressively retrain the way you process sound.
  • Hearing aid: This can help amplify outside sounds and, as a result, drown out the ringing or buzzing produced by tinnitus.
  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, but instead of boosting sounds, it masks them. Your device will be specially calibrated to mask your tinnitus symptoms.
  • Relaxation techniques: Tinnitus symptoms can sometimes be worsened by high blood pressure. So taking a little time to relax (with meditation, for example) can sometimes help decrease your tinnitus symptoms.

Tinnitus is not curable. A great first step would be to protect your hearing by controlling your environment.

But treating and controlling tinnitus is possible. We’ll be able to develop a specific treatment plan based on your hearing, your tinnitus, and your lifestyle. A white noise machine, for many people, might be all that’s required. In other situations, a more intensive approach might be needed.

Schedule an appointment to find out how to manage your tinnitus symptoms.

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Why Are My Ears Ringing?

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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